Tag Archives: review

American Brown Ale 1 – Review

This review has been a long time coming. The American Brown Ale 1 was brewed back on 22 June and it’s now October.

American Brown Ale 1

American Brown Ale 1 ready for drinking

First up is the aroma. This has a really nice toast and dark malt smell. There’s even hints of chocolate in there. Not a lot of hops, which is a bit of a surprise given the crystal hops in there. At the end there’s a yeast aroma, which is to be expected from beer brewed with kit yeast.

Taste up front is of light burnt malt. Light because the body is light as well. Not a lot of substance behind this. That is expected given it only has dry malt extract. While the body is light, the flavour is not. The dark malt characteristics comes out more bit by bit. Starting as a nice brown malt, moving into a burnt taste, then darker and more range. There’s a bit of a bite in there too. And that’s one of the few hop characteristics in this. Very slight fruit spice flavours on the edge.

After a while you start to notice the yeast flavours. A bit tart. Strange sort of yeast. Not the best. I’m not too concerned about that as it’s towards the back of the beer and not prominent. The malt seams to drive most of this beer. There is a strange dryness at the end which is slightly off putting. That might be due to the yeast as well.

Matching this beer isn’t too hard. Anything robust would work well. Anything with red meat would work. Even some chips and dip would go fine. Plus at 4.6% you can have a couple without worrying too much.

Happy with this brew. But it’s not really an American Brown. More of an English Brown. Next time I would add more hops, and use a better yeast.

-Mikey

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The Friedlieb, Coffee Porter III – Review

Way back on 29 July Chas made the third version of The Friedlieb, his coffee porter. This latest version is an all grain. And it’s pretty bloody good. All the relatively fresh coffee that went into this helps drive this beer.

The Friedlieb coffee porter III

The Friedlieb coffee porter III ready for drinking

The aroma is simply great. Big coffee and molasses hit in the nose. Good smoke end to the aroma, long and lasting but not harsh. This really draws you into the beer.

Up front this beer is a little deceptive. The dark malt feels somewhat light but the smoke is there. Plenty of peated malt. Chocolate is there at the start and coffee too. The rye malt is a little harder to pick up. Slightly overpowered, but giving some backing to the rest of the malt. The hops are not really there, but more to help balance.

There’s a big mouth feeling to this beer. Small bubbles give it a sort of creamy hint to it. After the first impressing the smoke and coffee take over. They’re mixing around and washing together. The alcohol in this is 6.8%, though you don’t really notice any of that anyway. The smoke and coffee cover it very well.

All the peated malt takes over and this does get slightly too much. That’s when it’s cold. Once this beer warms up there’s more of a slight sweetness to this. The chocolate malt comes out a bit and the brown malt flavour comes out a lot more. There’s a biscuit/toast flavour to it. But it’s the coffee that really becomes the king flavour and reminding you that there really was a LOT of coffee put into this beer.

The downside for me is the smoke from the peated malt. When I reviewed the second version of The Friedlieb I mentioned that Chas was really looking for this. It’s too much for me. Chas really wanted to push this, and I think it’s something he really likes. Don’t get me wrong, this is a well made beer with good complexity, nice body and long lasting flavour. For me one bottle is enough.

This is a beer for the end of the night. At home, settling in for the night and have next to a fire. Don’t need anything to eat because this beer is full of character and flavour. Maybe not the last beer, ‘cos the coffee will keep you going. But a good solid flavour hit to slow things down.

-Mikey

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Dark American Ale – Review

Way back earlier this year I helped out someone make some home brew. I got a bottle of it a few weeks later. It’s been in the fridge for months. And now I’ve tried it.

Dark American Ale

Dark American Ale ready for drinking

This was a beer I made with my wife’s boss. We were away for a weekend at their holiday home. Plus we made a kit beer. I was able to provide some really good advice to speed things up and get better results. It was a fun couple hours.

The beer is a kit called Dark American Ale and comes from Brewcraft/Liquorcraft. Ingredients included cans of liquid malt and some steeping grains. Nothing too complex. And looks like it turned out well.

The aroma is a nice hint of sweetness and slight dark nutty malt. A slight hint if burnt caramel. Exactly what you would expect. It’s a good set up for a beer of this style.

First taste has the dark malt come out. Next follows a bit of dark caramel sweetness. Finally the hop bitterness at the back.

For something that’s ‘just’ a kit, there’s plenty of mouth feel. Lots of flavour at the start and middle. The flavour isn’t thick, but you’re not expecting or wanting that here. While the beer does get thin the flavour doesn’t completely drop off.  That said the hops at the end take over, with the malt only just holding it all together.

The only real downside us a slight metallic taste. It comes at the back, and lasts long after the beer. It’s a drawback on a nice beer which is a real downer.

Food wise, this could work with a stew meat thing. Maybe a casserole or think sauce meat pie, something gutsy and rich.

I like the flavours at the start. Good and balanced. The finish really let’s it down. Overall nice but not great.

-Mikey

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Super Stout Review

DSC_0414So we finally got around to trying the Super Stout made way back in May!

Unfortunately there was a bit of an accident during the bottling process when Mikey poured some of the beer, not only spilling some but also aerating it. We were fearful that this would affect the taste somewhat, and it did a little bit, but oh well! This beer also spent more than a month in the fermenter as Mikey tried to get as much fermentation out of the brew as possible after experimenting fermenting at a lower temperature.

Anyway, the beer poured nice and black like it should, but unfortunately there was really much head to it. I was hoping for a nice stouty head, but it just wasn’t there. Let’s put that down to the aeration problem.

The aroma was pretty good, but once again not all in all stouty. Quite fruity with peaches and flowers in the nose, and, of course, a bit of licorice once things warmed up a bit. Along with the licorice was chocolate, which went with well! I would have liked to see a bit of spice in there, as it’s what I like in a stout, but instead there was a bit of a sticky and sweet smell, which may be coming from the fermentation problems Mikey had.

Once drinking the beer, there wasn’t quite as much body as would be expected in a stout, especially something called a “super stout.” It was thicker and fuller than paler beers, but not enough for a stout.

The lack of body meant that there was little in the front, but the licorice came through in the middle which was great. This licorice thickened things up a bit, and a really nice flavour to have. The beer ended with a nice sweet and sour. Some of the sweetness seemed like a mistake and slightly out of place. Once again, probably a problem with the fermentation and the aeration.

To get more stouty goodness, this beer simply needed to be maltier and to be thickened up. This beer has potential, especially because of the licorice flavour.

All that being said, the lightness makes this an easy drinking beer that can be sessioned on with no problems.

 

-Chas

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Another APA – Review

Another APA ready to drink

Another APA in the glass and ready to drink

As promised, I’ve tried Another APA from my good mate Ian.

Plenty of stone fruit aroma. Mix of peach and nectarine that’s been stewed for a few hours. That big, but not sweet, fruit hit on the nose. Plus this is a smell that doesn’t drop away.

Flavour wise the first thing to note is the exact tastes you would expect from the aroma. Stewed fruit from start to end. Some sort of spice/earth flavour in there. It kind of builds but then doesn’t come out fully. There’s a bitterness towards the back which is welcome. The beer is slightly tart at the very end which isn’t what I expected. Not a huge amount of body, about what you would expect from this type of Pale Ale

As the beer warms the stewed flavours settle a fair bit. The bitterness builds and the tart finish becomes more metallic. There’s even a hit of dryness as the body drops away. Not sure of the alcohol percentage in this, mainly because Ian doesn’t measure it. My guess would be around 4.5% to 5% as it’s quite easy to sink it quickly.

Food wise, not sure what to match to this. Initially I thought some roast pork. But the more I have it makes me want to have something both light and spicy. Maybe Thai or Vietnamese food.

This is an easy to drink beer. Except the finish. Not sure why that is but a quick Google later and I think there might be some DMS (Dimethyl Sulfides) issues with this beer. Ian, fix that and you’ve got a very nice beer.

-Mikey

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Correction, beer reviews were wrong

Sorry Ian. I stuffed up your beer reviews.

The last couple reviews I did were for the wrong beers. The 2014 APA was reviewed as ESB 2014 and and ESB 2014 was reviewed as Another APA. Whoops.

Ian corrected me yesterday. Those two reviews have now been edited to the correct beer names. In sort, 2014 APA is not so great and ESB 2014 is very good.

In my defence of the mistakes, the labelling system put me off. Rather than putting codes or name of what beer, Ian uses date bottled. And I’m always putting on date brewed. Anyway.

On a side note, I now have a proper bottle of Another APA. Hoping to get a review of that up within a week.

-Mikey

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ESB 2014 – Review

UPDATE: 10 June 2014.
Whoops, I originally thought this was the Another APA. I’ve recently found out this was actually the ESB 2014. Review updated to reflect that.

ESB 2014 ready to drink

ESB 2014 in the glass and ready to drink

My good mate Ian made few brews earlier this year that he wasn’t so happy with. Then in March he made some more beers that he was happy with. The second one that I’ve tried is the ESB 2014.

Really nice tropical smell to this beer. Hints of pineapple with nice floral sweetness.

Smooth up front. Sweet and rounded. Good fruit salad tastes. Bitterness isn’t that strong as the hops are more about the fruit and wood flavours. Malt is a light pale and helps support the malt. Sort of caramel hints. Very easy drinking.

This is a very good beer. I’ve liked it from the start. As it’s warmed up it became softer and smoother, making it even easier to drink. Not sure if I’d call this an ESB as there’s a lot of fruit and isn’t that bitter. That said once warmed up it is a lot closer.

Food matching, I would say some kind of lightly grilled or barbecued meat. Something like lamb with herbs. The sweetness of the lamb would match the soft sweet flavours of the beer.

Good beer. Ian, make more of this.

-Mikey

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2014 APA – Review

UPDATE: 10 June 2014. Whoops, I originally thought this was the ESB 2014. I’ve recently found out this was actually the 2014 APA. Review updated to reflect that.

2014 APA ready to drink

2014 APA in the glass and ready to drink

My good mate Ian made few brews earlier this year that he wasn’t so happy with. Then in March he started made some more beers that he was happy with. The first one that I’ve tried is the 2014 APA. That stands for American Pale Ale.

First thing I notice is the aroma. There’s a bit of egg smell in there, but also the soft malt with a hint of earth smell and hint of stone fruit.

First flavour hit is an earthy malt bite with a touch of sweetness. The bite is clearly from the hops and comes in on the side of the mouth rather than the front. The eggy smell comes out a bit in the flavour. This isn’t something you would expect in an APA. The hop flavour here is both a mix of earth and spice. No real big bitterness feel, but sort of still there. Some very soft sweetness from this as well. The flavours are a complex mix.

Early on, this beer wasn’t doing much for me, but the impressive thing about this beer is what happens when it warms up. It gets a fair bit better. For an APA that’s not necessarily a great thing. The complex mix settles down a fair bit and becomes a lot easier to drink. There’s even an soft apricot flavour finish on this. This is hard for me to match to food. I would have to say Sheppard’s pie or similar big pub food.

-Mikey

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Basic Pale Ale 1 – Review

Chas has decided to make a nice pale ale. While I do all sorts of weird stuff with hops in my Australian Pale Ale series, Chas has taken a practicable approach. First, start with some basic malt and what should work for hops. Second, fix anything that’s wrong. Third, enjoy your tasty home brew. Smart.

Basic Pale Ale 1

Basic Pale Ale 1 ready for tasting

The first beer in this journey is the Basic Pale Ale (take 1). It’s an all grain small 4 litre batch. And it turned out quite well.

Once opening up a bottle, there’s a stone fruit aroma like peach or nectarine. Yeasty hints as well. I quite like the smell of this beer. Sort of tropical.

Onto the tasting. First thing that hits is the smooth and creamy feeling. There’s a lightness and delicate fruit flavour up front. Then there’s a slow build up of intensity in flavour, but not a whole lot. Some pine flavour comes out after it warms slightly and grapefruit flavours. Bit of a stewed fruit flavour at the end and slight dry bitterness. Finishes off with some more dryness.

I like the body here. Everything is held together well. No noticeable drop away of substance. The body is on the lighter side but still keeps it all together. Not sure on the alcohol here as a gravity readings weren’t possible. If it’s not too strong it would be good as a session beer.

Only downside is that the sort of stewed fruit and grapefruit flavour doesn’t quite hit the mark. Can’t quite put my finger on it. The reason could be due to not enough malt, not enough body, too much hops, or simply it’s not to my taste.

Food matching, not sure. Basic home cooked meal seams to work well, steamed veggies and pan fried chicken/fish. Things that aren’t too strong.

This is quite a good beer. I could easily knock back a few of theses one after another. I’m sure after a few adjustments this will be a solid beer for all occasions.

-Mikey

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Australian IPA review

A little while ago, Mikey made his first trial of the Australian IPA, lots of different hops, and then some.Aus IPA

It was a great beer, and pretty hoppy, but not quite as hoppy as one would expect given what was thrown in there…

The aroma was great, with sweet caramel and biscuit smells.  Some lychee was thrown in for good measure as well hints of vanilla.  I was expecting a little bit more in there given all the hops.  It’s possible that it was too much and things simply got confused.

All in all, it looks and feels light for an IPA.  It has a good body, but not as heavy as would be expected.  The hops don’t come creaming out, but the bitterness is there and sits at the back as you would expect.  There are some great citrus and sour notes in the taste.  However, it’s fairly mild for an IPA.

Adding to this, finding any malt in the flavour was difficult.  The biscuit and caramel was great in the smell, and some malt in the taste would have been great.  This is a very hop driven beer, yes, but it needs some malt to wrap around.  Alternatively, it could have been good just to push the hops further and leave it at that.  In my opinion, that’s the two general directions an IPA can go.

-Chas

All that being said, this was a good, easy drinking beer.  It could easily be a nice session beer.

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